Cyprus bank deposits down 2.1pc in February: ECB

FRANKFURT: Households and companies withdrew as much as one billion euros ($1.3 billion) from their bank accounts in Cyprus last month, according to data compiled by the European Central Bank on Thursday.

The volume of private deposits held on bank accounts in Cyprus declined by 2.1 percent month-on-month to 46.4 billion euros in February, after already declining by 2.0 percent the previous month, the ECB data showed.

The figures, which do not include deposits held by the Cyprus government or interbank deposits, appear to reflect growing concerns among the island’s savers while bailout negotiations were still ongoing between Nicosia and its international lenders.

The ECB compiles similar data each month for every eurozone country and deposits in Greece, for example, increased by nearly 2.0 percent in February, in Italy by 1.3 percent and in Spain by 0.1 percent.

Cyprus banks opened again Thursday following an unprecedented 12-day lockdown aimed at preventing a run on the banks that could wreak havoc on the island’s already fragile economy, with daily withdrawals limited to 300 euros.

Under a deal agreed in Brussels on Monday, Cyprus must raise 5.8 billion euros to qualify for a 10-billion-euro bailout from the troika of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Depositors with more than 100,000 euros in the top two banks — Bank of Cyprus (BoC) and Laiki or ‘Popular Bank’ — face losing a large chunk of their money.